The PMQs before the Budget is always pretty pointless, and David Cameron turned up clearly determined to trivialise his exchanges with Ed Miliband as much as possible. He came armed with a plethora of jokes about second kitchens, chuckling about throwing two kitchen sinks at problems, that if the Leader of the Opposition couldn’t stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen, and that the Shadow Chancellor wouldn’t be able to tell which kitchen he could find his leader in.
It was partly a device to blunt the attacks that Ed Miliband made, which predictably were on the NHS, on his promise not to reorganise the health service, on cancer treatment rates and on hospital ward closures. The final topic concerned changes at Chase Farm hospital, which is in the marginal Tory constituency of Enfield North.
In the peers’ gallery, a watching Ken Clarke let out a loud sigh and leaned back as though to fall asleep. He’s still awake as the Budget statement gets going, but if the Tory grandee had snoozed through these exchanges, he would have missed nothing. Which of course was what the Prime Minister was intending. But perhaps this soon-to-be-forgotten session is also an illustration of why voters are quite so unenthusiastic about the two main parties.